« НазадПродовжити »
which contain the most complete exculpation of the Court and the most complete conviction both of the Girondins and Jacobinsi are never once, that we have been able to trace, alluded to by any of these writers.*
M. Thiers, however, found in some periodical magazine a quotation from a pamphlet of Carra, a Jacobin-Girondin journalist, in which he, Carra, claims for himself, and half-a-dozen other nameless names, the glory of having concocted that insurrection. This version of the affair M. Thiers unscrupulously, and without reference to the other statements and authorities, admits into his text, and in his appendix of pièces justificatives he gives, at second hand, the quotation from Carra, without, as it seems, having taken the trouble of ever looking at the original publication, which in fact differs in more than one important point from his representation of it. ·Such,' to use the words of the preface,' is the history of the Revolution, and such the light manner in which it has been treated.'
But there is also another source of information—that from which the publication before us professes, and we repeat, truly, to be derived—the original and hitherto unprinted and unknown correspondence of the actors in the great tragedy. Large quantities of this correspondence, both public and private, have been negligently or wilfully destroyed-by accident, by carelessness, or, in the various fluctuations of opinion, by prudence and by shame; but a great deal still remains. We have ourselves seen many and purchased, almost as waste paper, some-documents which must have belonged to the offices of government; and there can be no doubt that there is still a vast quantity of the original correspondence of the revolutionary actors in the public offices and in private hands. The passion for collecting autographs has brought, and is daily bringing, to light many portions of private correspondence; and as the events become more remote and the personal motives for concealment grow weaker, we shall undoubtedly have more and more of such revelations; and we cannot but hope that, as the printed papers have found so many collectors, the written documents may also be looked after with equal curiosity and industry. It is, however, unlucky for the cause of truth, that just now, when such materials are beginning to find their way into the world, the government of France is chiefly in the hands of the children and other near connexions of the Septembriseurs and regicides, who of course will use their best endeavours to smother all disagreeable truths, and there is no portion of the truth which can be agreeable to them. From King Louis
* We have already said that Mr. Adolphus, in Biographical Memoirs on the French Revolution, printed in 1799, notices in his Appendix these important documents.
Philippe himself down to the smallest son or grandson of a conventionalist, there is hardly one man in authority in France who would not tremble at the production of his own, or his father's, or grandfather's correspondence. Louis Philippe has, at the mo. ment that we write, three or four prosecutions pending, against the editors of newspapers, for the publication of letters, some* of which we are satisfied are authentic, for they are conceived in the same spirit as his celebrated letter to the Bishop of Llandaff, of the 28th July, 1804, which will be found in our 61st vol. p. 35, and which, under existing circumstances, we think our readers will be glad to read again :
"Twickenham, 28th July (!), 1804. My dear Lord,,I was certain that your elevated soul would feel a just indignation at this atrocious murder of my unfortunate cousin [the Duke d'Enghieu]. His mother was my aunt: after my brother, he himself was my nearest relation. We were companions together in our earlier days, and you may well believe that this event has been a severe blow to me. : . His fate, too, is a notice to all of us. It is a warning that the CORSICAN USURPER will never be at rest till he shall have effaced our whole family from the list of the living
* This makes me feel still more sensibly, though indeed that is hardly possible, the value of the generous protection which your magnanimous country grants us. I quitted my own country so early that I have scarcely any of the habits of a Frenchman; and I can say with truth that I am attached to ENGLAND, not only by gratitude, but by taste and inclination. It is, therefore, in all the sincerity of my heart that I wish that I may never leave this hospitable land.
* But it is not from mere personal feeling that I take a lively interest in the welfare and success of England—it is as a man! The safety of Europe-of the world itself-the happiness and future independence of the human race depend on the safety and independence of England, and that is the honourable cause of the hatred of Buonaparte and all his followers against you. May Providence defeat his iniquitous projects, and maintain this country in its happy and prosperous state! It is the wish of my heart, the object of my most ardent prayers.
I am, &c. &c.
Louis PHILIPPE D'ORLEANS.' With the opinions and feelings which we have thus expressed as to the state of the historical evidence concerning the French Revolution, our readers will not be surprised that we take every opportunity of recording anything that tends, or even pretends, to throw any new light on that gigantic mystery; and with that
* We venture to prejudge, from their internal evidence, that the letters published by the Gazette de France, and dated during Louis Philippe's emigration, are genuine. Not so those published by La France, dated since his accession to the throne, which are, we are sure, foolish forgeries, and will help Louis Philippe to get over what might be offensive to the French people in the authentic correspondence.
object, rather than for its intrinsic value, we notice the present publication.
After the preliminary remarks which we have already quoted, the preface proceeds to state'that its object is to exhibit the Revolution in its true light, not such as it ought to have been, but such as it was. It is not a writer, writing or judging from his own sources, and substituting his opinions for those of the actors in the events—it is something much more trustworthy. A fortunate chance (heureux hasard) has put'us in possession of the original and confidential correspondence of the founders of the republic, It is they themselves who explain their views, develop their intentions, detail the obstacles which they met, and confess the violent measures by which they were enabled to surmount them.'—Preface, p. vii.
This would have been all very well, if the papers were really in number or importance anything like what this pompous announcement would lead one-not prepared for the impudence of a modern French title-page to expect: but the truth is, that it is hardly possible to imagine anything less like the description than the documents turn out to be. Genuine we believe them to be-though the editor does not say one syllable beyond what we have quoted, to prove their authority, or to explain by what
lucky chance' he got possession of documents of so strictly official a character. But we are satisfied that they are genuine; first, from the internal evidence of all; and next, because we recognise some of them as having been published so long ago as 1793, by order of the Convention. Authentic, therefore, we hold them to be, and we suspect that they have been either subtracted from the public offices, or, as we rather believe, were copies or originals of despatches which at the time fell into the possession of some public functionary, and have since remained amongst his private papers. It is quite clear that they are not a complete and consecutive collection (such as might be expected if they had been abstracted from a public office), and they are — at least so much as we have before us—by no means in such a quantity, nor of such a character, as to afford any excuse for the lofty pretension of exhibiting the whole Revolution such as it was. They relate, in the first place, almost exclusively to military matters, and comprise an infinitely small proportion of the correspondence which must have taken place even in that one department; and of that small proportion a still smaller is of any importance, or at this day of any interest. The first volume contains between fifty and sixty pieces of the · Correspondence of the Army of the West'—that is, of Brittany, including La Vendée -and consists of letters addressed, between the 20th March and the 13th December, 1793, to the Committee of Public Safety,
to the Minister of War, and to each other by the Members of the Convention attached to the armies—by the generals and by some inferior public functionaries. The second volume contains a similar but somewhat more numerous collection of pieces relating to the Armies of the North, and of the Ardennes, between the 6th April and 17th December, 1793 : and two other volumes are announced on the Campaign of the Rhine, under Moreau, Dessaix, Kleber, &c.
Now, though it is hardly possible that any letters of Tallien, Fouché, and Carrier, concerning the romantic contest in La Vendée-written on the spot and at the moment-can be wholly devoid of interest; yet certainly these do possess less than we should have thought possible. In the first place, they are almost without exception, merely and drily, official; in the next, being but a few stray pieces out of an extensive correspondence, there is no continuity of objects or interests, and they really give one no more idea of the general state of affairs than a brick did of the Pedant's house; and, thirdly, because they have little or no no. veltymall, or nearly all, they contain having been already published — sometimes identically, but more frequently in other letters, of the same period, from the same persons, and on the same topics which, at the time, were printed by order of the Convention.
There have been so many and such copious accounts of the war in La Vendée, that we can select nothing from these scattered documents that would throw any new light on the facts of the struggle; but as the style of the public functionaries of the republic may not be quite so fresh in the memory of our readers, we shall give two or three specimens of its mingled absurdity and atrocity. • Carrier, Representative of the People, to BOUCHOTTE, Minister
of War.' Ministre Sans-culotte.
Rennes, 5th Oct., 1793. "I am setting out for Nantes, where they have allowed treason to organise itself, and the counter-revolution to make the most alarming progress. You may reckon upon my proving myself an active disorganiser (désorganisateur) to re-establish the triumph of sans-culotterie,
Health and fraternity,
CARRIER.'- vol. i. p. 292. • CARRIER, Representative of the People, with the Army of the West, to the Committee of Public Safety.
Nantes, 11th Dec., 1793. ' You see that my measures agree entirely with yours; in fact, I only anticipate them. I am as much interested as you can be in the speedy extermination of these brigands. I think that you may, you ought to reckon on me. I may now say that I understand-yes, under
stand the art of war. I am on the spot; be you quiet, and let me do the business. As soon as I shall receive the account of the taking of Noirmontier I shall immediately despatch a peremptory order to Generals Dutruy and Haxo to PuT TO DEATH, throughout all the insurgent countries, every individual that can be found, of BOTH SEXES, without distinction or exception, and to complete the BURNING of everything; for it is well that you should know that it is the women who with the priests have fomented and maintained this war of La Vendée. It is they who have caused our unfortunate prisoners to be shot; who have cut the throats of many: it is they who fight by the side of the men, and who put to death without mercy any of our straggling volunteers whom they may meet in the villages: in short, THEY [the womenFrenchwomen-M. Thiers !] are a perverse and devoted breed, as well as the whole peasantry; for there is not one who has not borne arms against the republic, and we must absolutely and totally sweep them from the face of the earth.'- vol. i. p. 422.
After an episode, describing his activity in getting shoes made for the army, he returns to the scent of blood, but this time it is not the murder of the royalists that he requires, but of some of the republican generals, whose proceedings had not satisfied this great master in the art of war, Citoyen Carrier.
I very expressly recommend to the national vengeance the counterrevolutionary villains, Beysser, Baco, Beaufrancher, and Letourneur. The heads of these four scoundrels will never heal the deep wounds they have inflicted on their country [strange if they did]. It would be desirable—nay it is absolutely necessary—that the Revolutionary Tribunal should speedily condemn all four to death, and should send them back to me for execution. At Paris the exhibition will be useless—at Nantes it will do the greatest good; send us, then, the four conspirators here, and I promise you I shall soon have their heads off.
Montant, late captain of artillery at Rennes, and who commanded the artillery of the department at Vernon, deserves the same fate; but if you wish to make his punishment sure, send him to me. When I have got him condemned, I shall send him to be executed at Rennes. It is absolutely necessary that the death of these great villains should terrify all the smaller fry who might escape our vigilance. - Health and FRATERNITY!!!
Carrier.'-vol. i. p. 243. Such was the style and the spirit of the · Founders of the Republic,' the great men of '93, whose victorious energies are now the theme of every pen in France; and justice requires us to add, that such, with accidental modifications to varying circumstances, must be, for a season at least, the style, spirit, and performances of all revolutionists.
The second volume gives a number (not a series) of despatches relative to the war on the northern frontier, under Custine and Houchard, from April to December, 1793. They contain